Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Meredith and I fail Hippy Birth Class

Birthing classes seemed like a good idea at the time. But so far the thing we've learned the most is that Meredith and I aren't hippies and chanting nonsense at each other just doesn't work for either of us. OK, it hasn't all been bad, there's been a lot of drawing and that's been kinda fun. Occasionally we get a little information that is interesting and likely useful (the really useful stuff often leaves us feeling a little queasy), but mostly it's been story time, candle burning and a little drum beating.
Now right from the start there has been this total attitude that there is no wrong or right there, which seemed a little ambiguous, but kind of comforting in a touchy feely kinda way.
So when I was supposed to be chanting to her to encourage her to see her surroundings, to hear her surroundings, to feel them and smell them (all this is an effort to distract her from the mild pain of holding ice cubes) I looked her straight in the eyes and couldn't do it. But I was concerned, when she will be truly in pain, what am I going to say to her? Apparently talking to her about TV, music and bad fashion choices works better for both of us. And there is no right or wrong, right?
That evening she answered one of my parting questions with, "So that's why you two talked through that exercise?" But I didn't think too much about it because I was still kind of high on the no right or wrong thing.
So when we got to our class the following week the first thing she asks us is if we've been practicing our Distracted Imaging, or was it Delayed Gratification? Anyway, she was asking us if we'd been practicing the crap that we'd discovered didn't work for us. The answer was no.
So then she spends the first part of the class stressing that if we come away with nothing else, the Delayed Distraction stuff was the most important thing we should learn and we should practice it in our cars and at the grocery store.
So we're failing the most important part of birth class. I don't think we're doing all that well in puppetry and tribal drumming.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Todd Rocks the House

Icecream Bob gave me tickets to see Todd Rundgren at the Aladdin Theatre. I have always considered myself a fan of Mr. Rundgren, but have to admit I am not really familiar with the majority of his phenomenal output. Still, you know you're going to have a pretty good time when you didn't have to pay for the tickets.
I didn't bother calling Barry until 45 minutes before showtime. He was in the middle of cleaning his house, and he hemmed and hawed about how long it would take him to get ready. I said for him to meet me at Dino's in a half an hour. If I had to wait for him it might as well be with a beer in front of me at my favorite seedy strip club. The owner Jared has spruced up the place a bit and he renamed it the Hawthorne Strip a long time ago, but it will always be Dino's to me.
The dancers were Maya, Anna and Chloe; all women who know me well enough to know how happy I am and are excited for me and my future with Meredith and Samuel. So it was no real chore to while away a little time in pleasant conversation (yelling over the incredibly loud jukebox) while waiting for Barry to get his shit together.
Maya had danced on the table at my bachelor party, so she was always eager to get updates on my good fortune. And I'm almost always happy to talk about myself.
It was nice to see Chloe incredibly happy. She'd just had a visit from her first daughter who'd just turned 21, and had a very pleasant time with her at the Embers drinking and dancing. She finally has a decent guy in her life, which is such a relief after several losers flaking out on her. Even the daughter she lives with approves of this guy, so he might stand a chance.
Well, too much of a good thing is no good at all. It was showtime and Barry still hadn't showed. I wasn't sure if counting on Todd to start late might not be such a great plan.
Barry finally walked into the club.
I jumped up, "You ready?"
"No." He needed to use the restroom.

So we were late, but we weren't that late. We piled into my red Toyota pickup and rushed off, me doing my best semi-low key imitation of the dukes of hazzard. As I got ready to turn onto 11th avenue I could see a woman frantically trying to hitchhike on the nearly deserted roadway. I slowed to make the turn and she actually leaped into the roadway in front of me.
"Can you please give me a ride to the Aladdin Theatre?" she asked desperately.
"Scoot over, Barry."
She had missed her bus while tying her shoe and was supposed to meet her friend with the tickets in front of the theatre. He probably wouldn't want to wait outside the show for the extra half hour it would have taken her to catch the next bus, so she lucked out that Barry had delayed us that short amount of time.
We pulled to a stop at Powell Boulevard. There was the Aladdin, all lit up and inviting, just across the busy boulevard. "You should probably jump out now." I said. She did.
We only had to park about 4 blocks away. It was brisk out, just perfect for really rapid walking. As we presented our computer printout tickets to the guy at the door, you could hear that Todd hadn't started late, the place was already rocking.
After checking out the view from the balcony, Barry looked down and said, "Let's go stand up front." It didn't look excessively crowded there. We hustled down the stairs, through the doors and down the aisle. We didn't even have to be overly rude to push our way up to fifth row almost center.
Even though Todd is quite a bit older than either Barry or myself, he was looking pretty good up there with his neon-green guitar and his two-tone hair. He was in pretty good shape and looked a little like Peter Sellers with his thick black framed glasses. He hadn't really started sweating yet and was just tearing it up with a loud rocking number that sounded really really fucking good. I'd never heard the song before, but I knew I wasn't going to have any trouble dancing to it. The view was great where we were. I wasn't the only one dancing, so I didn't have to worry about looking like an idiot (as if I ever let that stop me).
Barry bought us beers, and it was a little trickier dancing until I'd removed the top third of my beverage. Sacrifices have to be made in the name of rock and roll.
The music continued to be awesome and loud. The band were obviously seasoned veterans used to playing together. The lead guitarist was pretty good, but when Todd would tear into a solo he was just amazing. The show was so good I never once thought about finding a place to sit down. I personally only recognized two of his songs, other than the cover of Red Ryder's "Lunatic Fringe", but it was all just so damn good. It felt wonderful to be in a crowd of people who seemed to realize just how incredible a show we were experiencing. The building was packed with people, most of whom had paid quite well for the privilege of being there. I could tell they felt it was money well spent. Being there for free made it that much more enjoyable.
It was also very satisfying to see that being older doesn't necessarily mean you can't tear the roof off of the house, and the energy of the show never tapered off.
In the enthusiasm of the moment I declared that it was the third best show I'd ever seen, which is a bold statement from a guy who saw Genesis before they became a pop band, who'd taken his Dad to see Waylon Jennings, and who had seen Bob Dylan and Joan Baez singing in the rain. But as we left the show I only ranked Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney and Wings as the two shows slightly superior to the one we'd just witnessed.
Thanks a lot Icecream Bob. I owe you bigtime.